‘We are not going to be stuck with Ian Hayles’

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — While he has denied rumours that he is one of three councillors who intend to cross the floor, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Garfield James says calls are getting louder for him to run as an independent.

James, who represents the Sheffield Division in Westmoreland, withdrew from an internal vote to select the party’s parliamentary candidate for Westmoreland Western, alleging irregularities with the delegates’ list. That left the way clear for Ian Hayles, but James and his supporters have vehemently vowed not to support Hayles.

Just after the June 4 vote, rumours persist that James and his fellow councillors Ian Myles (Little London Division) and Lawton McKenzie (Grange Hill Division) were thinking of joining the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

On Thursday, however, James rubbished those claims.

“Nothing of that sort. That was being rumoured that we were going to cross the floor but that is not true. What is out there now that is current is that the people are saying that I should run [as an] independent. They have endorsed me,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

“We had a mass meeting [Wednesday] and the people are demanding it. We are not going to be stuck with Ian Hayles. We’re not gonna work with it. We are in dire discussion as it relates to that,” he added.

Repeated efforts to reach McKenzie were unsuccessful but Myles also refuted rumours that he intends to defect to the JLP.

“I have not said anything like that. Foolishness! I don’t know who types that nonsense. There are a lot of stories out there and have been there for the longest while. But that is not what we are considering,” he told the Observer.

Westmoreland Western is just one of the constituencies where the PNP has had challenges with candidate selection. A decision is being awaited in St Ann South Eastern where a poll ended with none of the three candidates – Kenneth Russell, Wavell Hinds and Patricia Sutherland— receiving the requisite 50 per cent plus one of the votes.

And there has been trouble in St Catherine South Eastern since Dr Alfred Dawes’ selection by PNP President Mark Golding has left feathers ruffled.